%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1392752245036763900
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.
[[caption-width-right:350:Earth's mightiest heroes. No, not [[WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes those mightiest heroes]].]]
See also:
+ DCComicsAnimated
+ WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies

Short for '''DC Animated Universe''', a group of animated series based on Creator/DCComics characters and, unlike [[DCComicsAnimated other DC adaptations]], all sharing the same continuity.

''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' was doing well but eventually ended in 1995. As well, ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' started up in 1996 with a similar but streamlined art design and when ''The New Batman Adventures'' arrived in 1997 (explicitly a continuation of the prior series) a decision was made to simplify many character designs. This was a controversial move; some characters were redrawn to more closely match their comic counterparts and to correspond to their original intentions of the creators (the Penguin, in particular, returned to his comic book look of a tuxedo-clad-gangster rather than the deformed model inspired by ''Film/BatmanReturns''), at the same time other characters lost distinctive and iconic parts of their appearance, like SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's red lips and eyes, which the creators later admitted was an artistic mistake. Other character redesigns were more successful however, such as The Scarecrow's nightmare-inducing new look. Supporting characters were also redrawn, including Commissioner Gordon, and his new gaunt look made many fans believe that he was suffering from some sort of debilitating disease.

With a Batman and Superman show airing simultaneously, the inevitable crossover occurred with ''World's Finest'', which teamed Batman and Superman against the Joker and SelfDemonstrating/LexLuthor, and the switch in art style made the cross much easier. [[TimmStyle A unified artstyle]] also greatly helped many of the DC Animated Universe shows later, which were either direct spinoffs of existing shows or discreetly and directly tied together.

The DCAU is sometimes referred to as the "Timmverse" (after character designer Creator/BruceTimm) or the "Diniverse" (after writer Creator/PaulDini). Some purists argue that "Timmverse" is more appropriate, as Bruce Timm was a more consistent creative force in the various shows than Paul Dini, who left before the end of it. Rather more to the point, Dini is a writer, not a character designer. Timm, who ''is'' a character designer, is the one responsible for the "standard DCAU art style". On the other hand, the writing of the DCAU is as notable as the art, plus the name is catchier (having [[RuleOfThree three syllables]] and all). On the ''other'' hand, Paul Dini was just the foremost of several writers and worked for Alan Burnett, who thus technically had more to do with the managing of the DCAU than Dini did. The debate continues.

[[AC:It is generally accepted that the DCAU includes:]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''/''The Adventures of Batman and Robin''/''The New Batman Adventures''
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm''
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanAndMisterFreezeSubZero''
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMysteryOfTheBatwoman''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''/''The New Superman Adventures''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond''
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject'' - [[SpinOff Spun off]] from ''Batman Beyond''
* ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock'' - via {{Retcon}} (Superman was a fictional character in early episodes)
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' and ''Justice League Unlimited''

[[AC:Webseries based on DCAU cartoons:]]
* ''WebAnimation/GothamGirls'' - The New Batman Adventures [[SpinOff spinoff]].
* ''Lobo: The Web Series''

[[AC:Comic Books set in the DCAU include:]]
* ''Adventures in the DC Universe''[[note]]Although this one ended up being almost wholly retconned.[[/note]]
* ''ComicBook/BatmanBeyond''[[note]]Only the ones in the Timm art style; the later ones are a mix between DCAU continuity and mainstream DC Comics continuity[[/note]]
* ''ComicBook/TheBatmanAdventures''
* ''ComicBook/TheSupermanAdventures''
* ''Justice League Adventures''
* ''Justice League Beyond''
* ''Justice League Unlimited''

[[AC:Video Games based on the DCAU:]]
* ''Batman: The Animated Series''
* ''The Adventures of Batman and Robin''
* ''VideoGame/{{Superman 64}}''
* ''Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker''
* ''Batman: Chaos in Gotham''
* ''Batman: Gotham City Racer''
* ''VideoGame/BatmanVengeance''
* ''Superman: Shadows of Apokolips''
* ''Justice League: Injustice for All''
* ''Superman: Countdown to Apokolips''
* ''VideoGame/BatmanRiseOfSinTzu''
* ''Justice League: Chronicles''

The DCAU has ended production with the final episode of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'', and at this point no plans are made to do more series in it. However, its influence continues to this day both in Comics and WesternAnimation, and due to the distinct art style of the 'verse (aka TimmStyle) being applied to later animated adaptations of TheDCU, other properties are frequently and incorrectly cited as part of the DCAU.

!![[TropeNamers Tropes named]] or made by the DCAU:
* BatmanColdOpen
* BatmanInMyBasement
* BurgerFool
* ClockKing
* GirlsNightOutEpisode
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold
* HeroesUnlimited
* MadLove
* TimmStyle
* WorldOfCardboardSpeech

!!Tropes present in the DCAU shows:

* AdaptationDistillation: All DCAU shows took the best parts of all Creator/DCComics elements and modernized them.
* ArtEvolution: The universe as a whole steadily improved in animation with each new show.
* ArtShift: Was done with ''[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries The New Batman Adventures]]'' in order to tie it in with ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'', as well as make it easier to keep characters [[OffModel On Model]].
* BookEnds:
** The first superhero ever seen in the DCAU was Batman. The last hero in the final CurtainCall at the end of ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' is Batman.
** The final scene in the ''Justice League Unlimited'' episode "Epiologue" mirrored the first shot of the very first ''Batman: The Animated Series'' episode, with the episode being written before the series was renewed for its third & final season. Whilst it didn't end up book ending the DCAU (at least, not by ''our'' chronology), it did book end the first shot of ''BTAS'' with the final shot of the future Batman.
* ContinuitySnarl: The tie-in comics are canon...at least until an actual episode of one of the series contradicts them. This has resulted in discrepancies in characterization and origin for several characters, including Superman, Catman, and Huntress.
* FantasyGunControl: Averted in most cases, making the DCAU cartoons unique among TV shows of the '90s era. Although it's pretty rare for anyone ([[ShootingSuperman other than Superman]]) to actually get shot, as most bad guys who use guns seem to have graduated from the ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: [[http://dcanimated.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_sexual_innuendos_and_double_entendres_in_the_DCAU Well...]]
* GoshDangItToHeck: Compiled [[http://dcanimated.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_expletives_in_the_DCAU here]] (as well as [[CurseCutShort Curses Cut Short]]).
* GrowingWithTheAudience: Especially ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited''.
* {{Leitmotif}}: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6x9YTh173o A constant element of the universe's musical scores]] - WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries famously had motifs for every major character, including full themes for every member of his rogues gallery. Superman had them less often, but most villains and heroes still had their own themes. The most famous themes from both of these shows remained with the characters for the entirety of the DCAU, and this practice continued on to Justice League and Unlimited, which gave several of the most important heroes themes.
* {{Ruritania}}: Kaznia, a Balkan nation that is referred to multiple times in several DCAU shows.
* StoryArc: ''Superman TAS'' and ''Justice League (Unlimited)'' were very arc-based in structure.
* StuffBlowingUp: The vast majority of episodes set within the DCAU end with the villain's [[CollapsingLair hideout exploding]], for reasons ranging from self-destruct devices to joy buzzers falling into loose wiring.
* TimmStyle: TropeNamer, [[TropeMaker Maker]], and [[TropeCodifier Codifier]].